“Pay attention,” the ruler snapped upon the desk with a crack that echoed through the school halls.
The class sat, heads down, gazes fixed upon their laps. No one answered, they remained silent in a decisive way; refusing the teacher attention that she had desperately commanded for.
Dusted with white mist that floated from the chalk eraser being tossed onto the floor, the teacher grabbed her narrow writing utensil and scrawled in the ivory onto the matte black board. Scratching lingered after the tip, following the curves and lines of the letters.
“Here,” instructed the teacher, “This is what you must follow if you are to succeed, if you are to survive… if you are to be recognized as human!”
A hand rose, a single arm in a sea of hunched shoulders.
There was no response, though the arm gradually lowered.
“If I’m meant to know what you mean, then you are mistaken, please use your vocal cords.”
Coarse huffing exploded from the student, dust escaping from his orifices, having collected through the lessons, “May I answer the question?”
Tedious contemplation flourished wildly on the teacher’s face, “Question? There is no question!”
“There is,” replied the student, gaze raising from his lap, “And I would like to answer it.”
Looking at the board, then back to the student, with a frustrated groan, the teacher tossed the chalk across the narrow corridor. The student caught it, standing and holding it high above his head.
Approaching the front display, he could feel the students looking at him. When he turned around to see his fellows, he realized that it was only his own excitement creating the feeling. All the others still had their eyes firmly fixated below.
Returning to the board, he placed the chalk carefully, precisely above the first letter of the word that the teacher had written. If he was holding his breath, he didn’t realize it beyond that there was a stillness overtaking him.
Drawing sharp lines over the word, passion seeped out his skin and into the chalk as he began to draw faster and without abandon. The sharp turned soft, lines turned curves, the board became too little and to the walls he went, undeterred by the teacher’s aghast demands to sit back down.
He didn’t stop until he reached the last corner of the hexagonal room, on his knees, with the stub of chalk falling out from his pinchers and into his palm. Turning his hand to face himself, he noticed the chalk was no longer white, but red instead. It had changed on the second wall, where the lines had gradually faded from the dusted ivory into crimson powder.
The teacher’s ruler had broke, over the course of demands being blatantly ignored. They sat by the front desk, set center in the stage, bawling and squeaking, “How dare you! How dare you!” The teacher screamed, “This is my class! Mine, I tell you! Sit, Sit, You weren’t Born to Be Me!”
It was only now that the student could even hear the words as language, understanding them in a way that he hadn’t before, “Have it,” he said simply.
This infuriated the teacher further. The desk flipped high above, crashing into the ceiling and landing in a pile of rubble. The teacher began to rip desks from the other students, tossing them behind and above, as their path headed towards the Problem.
But the Problem knew the Answer, he placed his hand in the center of the spherical square, housed by the geometric angles that had been chalked out with immense precision. For a second or two, nothing happened except the teacher tossing the desks away from the unwavering, inattentive students that remained in their chairs, staring at the empty space where their desks had been.
Then, a hand reached out from the wall. Elongated, coarse fingers wrapped around his wrist. With a powerful yank, the hand pulled him. He hit the wall, at first, feeling a resonance through his bones, which caused a sensation that fell directly in the middle of the spectrum of pain and pleasure.
“Leave, but if you do, Never Return!” screeched the teacher, scratching nails against the chalk sigils in attempt to ruin them.
The student smiled, not bothering to answer as the second tug broke him through the lining and his body disappeared into the wall and out the other side into the world. Holding his arm, he looked upon the Rescuer with curiosity, “Who are you?”
“The Guide,” said the Rescuer, “Come, we have things to do and places to go, no need to bother retrieving the energy lost in there.”
Around him, the student saw the vast planes of reality, beckoning for him to run, for him to flee, for him to become something he could never dream or believe. His tendons ached to begin, to run, to just run and forget where he had been trapped for so long.
“Please?,” asked the Guide in a passive tone, “I’d appreciate your company.”
“Yes,” said the student, pushing down the boiling urges that demanded to rule, “Lead, lead and I will follow until I, also, know where to lead and then, then, we’ll have even more places to go and things to do.”
The Guide smiled, kissing him on the cheek, “Exactly.”